Climbing on Dartmoor
Dartmoor is a wonderful place for both groups and individuals to climb. Many of the granite tors scattered across Dartmoor offer a range of routes, including some challenging ones. Bouldering opportunities also exist on Dartmoor. At Adventure Okehampton we offer various opportunities for leaning the basic skills of climbing, but we also have some good climbing for those individuals who want to do go out independently.
DNPA advise that there is a The Dartmoor British Mountain Map is produced by Harvey Map Services in association with the British Mountaineering Council and the British Geological Survey.
If you are bringing a group to climb please click on the link to see additional information for groups.
Dartmoor National Park produce a booklet about climbing, click here to download
For information on live firing on the Dartmoor ranges:
For information about firing on the Dartmoor ranges: http://www.dartmoor-ranges.co.uk/ for the Dartmoor training area homepage.
What you can do from YHA Okehampton?
We offer accommodation for climbers ranging from dormitory rooms to The Filter House (small bunkhouse ideal for groups). You can book the Filterhouse for weekends, and either self-cater or take meals in the adjacent Bracken Tor House. There's easy access to a range of climbing options, from the North coast of Devon and Cornwall to Haytor in the centre of Dartmoor, as well as more local sites such as Irishman's Wall and West Mill Tor.
Looking for a different sort of end to the weekend, hang around on our High Ropes course or take the Big Oke Abseil off Meldon Viaduct.
Places to Climb
There are many different sources of information on Climbing in South-west England, and some of these are listed here. These are external links to other web-sites.
Javu's Guide to Climbing in South West England (External link in New Window) This is a web-site with information on climbing in the South-West. It includes list of the top 10 Bouldering sites on Dartmoor. Around Okehampton, there are sites such as Irishman's Wall at Belstone, where there are many routes, including Caffreys Severe 4b, Bank Holiday Bimble VS 5a, White Spider Directissmma E2 5c as well as West Mill Tor.
Rockfax's database of climbs This is a web site which provides support for the Rockfax guidebook. They have a Route Database which contains a listing of every route in their publications with a full description and the possibility to vote on the grade and quality of the route, and lodge your comments. It includes areas such as Baggy Point and Haytor.
Our instructors recommend:
Our instructors get out and about in their spare time, and a favourite destination of some of them lies at Bone Hill, west of Bovey Tracey. These rocks offer over 100 different routes, of all different grades, so is an excellent place to head for a day's bouldering on Dartmoor.
Our Centre Director recommends:
We would always head off to Dewerstone for an exciting day of rock-climbing. My favourite is Central Groove, but there are lots of other routes that are challenging and plenty of different levels, so there's something for everyone there.
According to the BMC guide, the rocks at Dewerstone are home of the demon Dewer, who continues to trick unsuspecting punters and throws them off the edge into the waiting jaws of his spectral hounds. The rock is granite and routes have been developed at this site since 1935, so well known to many old climbers in the region. Dewerstone climbs are included in various guidebooks to the region, and there is a complete list of the routes on the BMC database. The land is owned by the National Trust, who have requested climbers do not abseil from the trees.
Dartmoor National Park's Code of Conduct for climbers.
Care of the Environment
Always aim to leave the crag in a better state than when you found it:-
- be aware of your impact on the fragile natural environment and avoid ‘gardening’ plants and lichens from the rock face;
- tread carefully and seek to minimise erosion;
- learn to recognise archaeological features and do not move any stones or climb on the remains of old buildings;
- as well as making use of the cliff and crags take some practical steps to conserve them. Never leave any rubbish, and please pick up and take home any litter you find;
- noise and behaviour both have an impact; remember that on a still day your voice can carry a long way disturbing wildlife, and other visitors - ensure that your climbing partner can hear you but not every other visitor in the area;
- take care to avoid disturbing livestock when approaching or leaving crags and keep dogs under close control at all times;
- ensure that access is permitted to the site - if in doubt ask at a local Information Centre.
The problems of erosion, particularly soil erosion, on the top of crags can be minimised by careful rigging of belays; please:-
- minimise rope wear on fragile areas by the use of padding, static ropes and long slings;
- use long slings and avoid top roping with ropes running directly around trees to minimise root and bark damage;
- do not leave ropes hanging over routes when not in use.
Choice of anchors is another area where climbers can limit their impact on the crag environment. Trees can make good belays but thoughtless use can kill them. Whenever possible use traditional removable protection (ie nuts and friends) for belays. However, if there is no alternative anchor point please consider the following:-
- ropes tied around tree trunks will damage the bark - pad out the ropes, use wide webbing or wrap the rope round several times to spread the load;
- reduce the leverage on the tree by securing slings at ground level on the trunk;
- minimise trampling on the roots and surrounding top soil.
Consider whether you need to include abseiling in your climbing activities at the crag. If you do, try to avoid all named climbs if at all possible.
There is a very limited amount of fixed equipment on Dartmoor. It should always be treated with caution and never relied upon. Due to the sensitivity of the whole area, the Dartmoor National Park Authority does not permit the bolting of any new or existing routes and, if found, any new fixed protection will be removed.